The music of the 80’s is still impregnated in our mind, heart and body. Nowadays, listening to music from the 80s is still commonplace, and for this reason we have decided to make a small compilation of the best musical styles and songs from those years that you will find on our station and that I am sure you will all remember.
The 80’s aesthetic; its icons and spirit have been successfully exploited by the fashion and entertainment industry. What makes that decade so special for the consumer?
The eighties, or rather their nostalgic and marketable reinterpretation, are everywhere. On television (Stranger Things, Glow), in theaters (It, Ready Player One), in bookstores (The Time of My Life, I went to EGB), in video games (Crossing Souls, Octopath Traveler), in music (the use of synthesizers, the return of vinyl), the clothing stores (the T-shirts of groups or iconic brands of that time), the mobile applications (the photographic filters that imitate the aesthetics of Polaroids and the texture of VHS tapes) and, if we go a little further, even in the White House. Doesn’t the Trump era look like a Reagan-era Hollywood reboot?
The phenomenon that became popular following the impact of the film Super 8 (J. J. Abrams, 2011) is spreading without any apparent expiration date. This collective idealization of past times is not a recent phenomenon. The Belle Époque (1871-1914) or the “happy twenties” of the last century were missed in later decades. Nationalisms glorified the past of their nations. Greco-Roman art and culture were recovered during the Renaissance, Classicism or Neoclassicism. However, why has the recovery of the eighties been so successful? Why not the seventies or the nineties?
Several explanations have been given. One of them talks about the fact that the children of the eighties are the ones who now occupy the spheres of power and have been able to transform the aesthetics and cultural products of their childhood into profitable merchandise. Another, that those same children are now middle-aged consumers prone to be swept up in nostalgia as a response to an unsatisfactory present. A third explanation speaks of a form of fetishistic resistance, an attempt to reclaim, through the objects of consumption, an era perceived as simpler, more stable and authentic.
This is where false nostalgia comes in: young people who were born after the nineties and who are fascinated by the aesthetics and objects of a world they perceive as “pre-technological”; a recent and therefore very recognizable era, but one in which neither the Internet nor cell phones existed. But the explanation that interests us most is the historical one.
A possible answer to why the eighties are so attractive is because, understood as a cultural product, they were “made” precisely for that: to be liked. When we evoke that decade, we think primarily of the United States. In the way of life and the ideology transmitted by their films, series, video clips, advertisements… A world composed mainly of middle-class families of Anglo-Saxon origin, prosperous, happy and optimistic.
It should be remembered that when Ronald Reagan came to power in 1981, he launched the largest rearmament program since World War II. One of his star projects was the Strategic Defense Initiative, which included the construction of a missile shield. The project was so ambitious that it was named by the press after a science fiction icon of the 1980s: Star Wars. The Republican president also promoted the so-called “Reagan doctrine,” a foreign policy strategy aimed at combating Soviet influence in Latin American, African and Asian countries. In this ideological war, cultural products played an important role.
As Frances Stonor Saunders revealed in The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (Debate, 2013), the US secret services invested large resources in developing cultural propaganda programs in the Cold War. Between 1950 and 1969, a body called the Congress for Cultural Freedom acted as a front for the Central Intelligence Agency.
Its tasks were to promote cultural activities that were in line with the values of capitalist democracies. After a decade of “appeasement”, the confrontation with the Soviet Union intensified in the 1980s. The U.S. government took up the discourse of the Soviet threat to justify increased military spending and encourage anti-communist propaganda.
How did this political shift affect cultural products? Except in the case of films that contained a clear patriotic message (Top Gun, Rambo, Chosen for Glory), to which the Department of Defense provided logistical, material and, indirectly, ideological support (the support was conditioned on the defense of national interests), the U.S. government did not intervene directly in the products of the entertainment industry.
However, this conservatism impregnated the audiovisual and narrative discourses of the fictions that were produced in the United States. The blockbuster concept was consolidated in this decade. Hollywood’s escape movies, mainly directed to teenagers, practically monopolized the market and were exported with great success.
This was also due to technological advances. Thanks to the implantation of television in a good part of the world, the appearance of video players and the popularization of video games, audiovisual products manufactured by American companies entered the homes of half the world. A boy or girl in the eighties in a capitalist country could live a simulation of the American way of life : eating breakfast cereals, going to school in jeans listening to American pop on the walkman, eating a cheeseburger in a fast food restaurant…
The consumption of these products created a global imaginary that would later be transformed into sentimental memory. Between 1983 and 1984, when the Stranger Things series was set, two very different epidemics, AIDS and crack, were wreaking havoc on American society. The war between Iran and Iraq was in full swing. Reagan began conducting nuclear tests. It was not a peaceful and happy world.
However, the one that came to us from the United States and that we have incorporated into our emotional memory was. And judging by the great success of his nostalgic evocation, we miss him very much.
Music in the 80’s is considered to be the golden age of music. What music was heard in the 80’s?
Music has always accompanied us throughout our lives. Many people still remember some iconic songs that marked the time of their childhood, when they listened to their parents’ records or the songs they played on the radio.
As we grow up music does too, and today there are older people who still remember songs from their time that bring back good memories. Listening to those songs from earlier times brings nostalgia and joy to some, as it makes them remember important dates, especially the music of the 80s.
The 80’s were a time that revolutionized the music industry in general, as styles emerged that marked music forever. It was also a time of consecration for different artists, who today are considered almost gods, thanks to all the successes they achieved.
In the 80’s several musical genres became known, while others began to take hold. Among the most outstanding of the time we can mention the following:
There are many people who claim that the 80’s was the beginning of electronic music.
This musical style was inspired by the Disco Music that was heard in the mid 70’s. The term “disco” became fashionable in the 80s, making genres such as euro rhythm, dance music and post disco increase in popularity.
New wave was also another genre that became popular and very profitable during this time.
This is one of the most popular styles of music even today. It is a style that has a bit of a romantic ballad along with a touch of rebellion from those young people who were born at that time.
The songs of the 80’s made bands like Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses become icons of music.
This genre of rock is one of the most important, since it was the inspiration for many others linked to rock that are still heard today.
Heavy started in the 70’s, however it was not until the 80’s when it was remodeled. It was a time of consecration for bands like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden.
Similarly, the 80’s was the beginning of thrash metal, a genre even more powerful and fast, leaving bands like Metallica and Megadeth as the most popular.
In reference to this genre we can say that the first data is recorded during the 80s, through a combination of rap phrases in conjunction with African American rhythms from the United States and Central American countries.
At the beginning of the 80’s the first steps of the urban gothic subculture began to be taken in the English underground. That was when what is now known as post-punk began. The Cure was one of the pioneering bands within this genre.
The 1980s catapulted the careers of several artists. Their success was so great that it still stands today.
In many events they opt for the rental of sound equipment to bring this music to the ears of many. Michael Jackson and Madonna became the kings of pop in the 80s.
There are many musical genres that gave life to the successes of artists like Tina Turner, Lionel Richie, Bryan Adams and many others.
On the other hand, many agree that the 80’s were fundamental to the evolution of the music you hear today.
It may be a little different. However, many of the artists who make a living as musicians today continue to make music from the roots.
No matter what happens later, the 80’s will always be the golden age of music.
This decade really bore fruit for absolutely all tastes. From the hand of great artists who have already made history, and that in the following lines we will remember their work.
Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince and The Police, among many others, are universal names when it comes to music and they all have in common that they set the guidelines that defined the 80s musically.
In the development of this note, we will concentrate on artists, bands and events that have been really significant for the world of music and that were generated or emerged during the 80s, for many considered as one of the best decades musically speaking since it gave rise to many genres such as electro-pop, or techno and that today are perhaps the most heard on the radio and have influenced the young artists of the moment.
Of course in the rest of the countries of the world also existed the music of the 80’s, but the strong footsteps that echoed around the planet, are the ones that stand out and then we will go on to analyze their tracks and without forgetting the movements that they suggested during those years in Spain.
We should not forget the so-called “One Hit Wonder” (artists or bands that were only recognized by a specific axis and then disappeared from ‘the podium of the stars’) as for example Moving Pictures, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Don Johnson and Living in a Box among many others. Already prepared and with all our tools in the suitcase, we started the journey through the music world of the 80s!
Madonna is an excellent star to start drawing our star map since she is not only considered the “queen of pop” but the 80’s were hers as far as female music is concerned. We know that there were many artists that fed the music of the 80s, but few reached a fame that lasted the whole decade (and even more) as the well known “Material Girl”. A very complete and innovative artist from the sound of her music, through an imposing image and an overwhelming personality.
Speaking of stars and the cosmos, we cannot fail to mention our friend from the neighboring galaxy named Michael Jackson, who without a doubt, was a “phenomenon apart” in the music of those times. His popularity was unimaginable and at times one felt that the king of pop had fans even in other galaxies.
In fact, he is still considered the best artist of all times, and he holds the record for the best selling album in history, “Thriller”, which he published in the 80s, 1982, to be exact.
If we name Michael Jackson, we inevitably fall into another great character of the decade that bears the glamorous name of “Prince”. An artist with great charisma and musical versatility. Prince would have been the absolute star of any decade, of course if Michael Jackson had not existed. He has recorded and produced wonderful albums that rocked to the rhythm of his purple sensibility and which we enjoy very much today.
Among the women superstars of the music of the 80s, and apart from Madonna, we can name many, but the most brilliant, beautiful and popular was without a doubt Whitney Houston. Simply the best pop singer of the decade. Her platinum records do not lie and her vocal technique accompanied by a sweet image that was enhanced during the MTV era, contributed to give “the big hit”.
If we want to turn our eyes to other cultures that were very important in the development of the music of the 80s, we must undoubtedly do so towards the English one. At that moment we will cross glances with Sting and his band mates who formed “The Police”. Artistically and commercially they were one of the most important bands of the decade. An extremely homogeneous and powerful trio that knew how to mix Rock, Punk, Pop and Reggae through challenging paths.
Queen, although formed in the 70’s, lived their great era in the 80’s. Freddie Mercury’s band can be considered as the best band in the history of music, with permission of The Beatles, and even today their songs remain as hymns.
How about paying attention to the Irish? Let’s see… Maybe the name “U2” rings a bell… Of course it does! This Irish band emerged as one of the first superstars of alternative music of this decade. Over the years they went from punk rock to electronic pop energy loaded with political messages. The talent emanating from the group itself and its individuals, led them to be one of the most important bands of all time and in fact considered by the general public as one of the best rock bands in history.
College Rock carried the “independent” sign and was played on college radio. With a punk character above others, these groups rescued the spirit of post-punk of the late 70s and early 80s. This style would later give shape to what we call Alternative Rock today.
Sinth Pop was another genre that emerged in the early 80s. Focusing on pop melodies covered by a futuristic visual imagery, they gently moved away from the hardcore limits of punk rock. Many of the artists belonging to this line dealt with themes of the mechanization of societies accompanied by the metallic sound of synthesizers. Some outstanding artists of this trend are: Depeche Mode, New Order, The Buggles, Ultravox and Alphaville among many others.
The Los Angeles scene began to be adorned by Glam rockers who were part of a new generation of artists. Pioneers like Van Halen emphasized style, fashion and the motto of “having a good time” above all else. When MTV heard about this new movement, the popularity of this sub-genre skyrocketed like a rocket from artists like Motley Crue, Def Lepard, Twisted Sister, Ratt, Poison, Cinderella and Bon Jovi among many others.
Another of the sub-genres that emerged in this decade to give life to the music of the 80s, was the birth of a new wave of English Heavy Metal that began to form in the late 70s and was formed by artists like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Some bands of this wave to highlight are Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, Motorhead and Judas Priest among others.
We were also able to detect the presence of a new planet called “Thrash” that was dominated by wild and fast women called “guitars” mounted on double bass drums that galloped at great speed. To stand out in this genre without a doubt we have Metallica with their album “Kill ‘Em All” released in 1983.
MTV says “hello” to the world and ushers in the era of the music video on television. At first they only had a few videos that rotated “over and over again”. To think that now they get millions of videos from many, many artists and they keep rotating the same ones “over and over again”
MTV’s involvement in the world of music and the music of the 80s was a new “resource for” many artists and record labels looking to gain more popularity. Thus, Madonna and Def Leppard among so many other artists managed to expand their popularity by entering the homes of teenagers in full color, although it was perhaps the premiere of “Thriller” and “Billie Jean”, both songs by Michael Jackson that marked the history of the network that until now refused to broadcast video clips of black artists.
The network also helped to overturn the excess of image required for success over the musical creativity itself and an example of this phenomenon is the glam metal of the mid 80s. It was a time of new marketing proposals and many times even new ways of composing music.
MTV opened its doors to the world on August 1, 1981 and the first video that saw the light was “Killed The Radio Star”, by the band “The Buggles”.
Some of the most important programs of this network were: 120 Minutes, MTV Unplugged, Headbangers Ball, Club MTV, and the Video Music Awards among many others.
As for Spain and the 1980s, we cannot ignore the so-called “movida madrileña” which marked a turning point between the artists of the pre-1980s and the young Spaniards who wanted to be able to express themselves with their lyrics and aesthetics in the newly established democracy.
The influence of “glam”, “punk” and British music is evident in bands such as Kaka de luxe, Alaska y los Pegamoides, Alaska y Dinarama, Radio Futura, Nacha Pop, Los Secretos, etc… and which later emerged as the groups that sold the most in our country throughout the 80s.
The “movida” was really a movement of the Spanish youth of the 80’s and not only in the musical field but it was noticed in any type of art whether it was cinema, literature, photography, television or painting.
Michael Jackson-Thriller 60 million copies and still going up
Is there a reason for this?
Madonna-Like a Virgin “Like a virgin” and “Material Girl” became key machinery for the great factory of the culture of the 80’s.
Van Halen-1984 A record full of “party” and above all, a lot of music. The true flavor of this recipe comes from the hand of two well filled teaspoons of David Lee Roth.
Prince-Purple Rain In this record, it summarizes in a tight way, everything that Prince has to give.
U2-The Joshua Tree Although they were already recognized in the Collage Rock scene, with this record they graduated to stardom with the best grades.
Guns N’ Roses-Appetite for Destruction In the midst of the Hair Metal explosion, Guns n’ Roses appears with an album that offers a different musical style.
George Michael-Faith A really unexpected masterpiece after having left Wham! a band that had been a machine to generate Hits. This makes George Michael a great star.
We could name many more artists who made the music of the 80’s a memorable feast, but our 80’s journey is coming to an end and we must keep on surfing the net. We invite you to continue reading our blog which has many very interesting notes on the exciting world of music.
Once we’ve gone over the greats of music in the 80’s it’s time to look at some of the advantages and health benefits that music brings us, so if you like to listen to music all the time, now you’re going to have plenty of reasons to do so. Let’s take a look at them:
Relax: Music is a great relaxer so it is perfect to end the periods of stress we have due to the pace of work we must carry. On the other hand, we must say that being relaxing, music has a clear positive effect on our cardiovascular system, so it is important to take this into account for people who often suffer from hypertension.
It helps concentration: besides being relaxing, music helps us concentrate much more, so it is perfect for when we are working or studying. What is certain is that each one of us should find the style that best suits him.
It improves our mood: listening to music makes us happier and many studies have proven that people who listen to music are much more open and happy. In fact, music makes us much happier and leaves many worries in the background, so it is a great therapy against everyday problems.
We rest better: being a relaxer, music allows us to rest much better during the night, so if we have insomnia problems, a good way to end them is to listen to some music before going to bed. On the other hand, leaving the radio or cell phone on while we sleep, a few hours, for example, will also allow us to rest much better, which will make us wake up with much more energy.
A training for the mind: listening to music makes the brain’s neurons work better, so we can say that listening to music every day is like training the mind every day.
Helps healing: Many studies have shown that people who have been injured or have undergone surgery heal their wounds much faster if they listen to music. That’s why a little music a day can be ideal for all of us who have surgery or small wounds.
As you can see, music not only makes your day more fun but it has a lot of health benefits. That’s why you should keep this in mind and try to listen to music in everything you do, even if it’s only 10 minutes a day.
Do you like 80s music? Give your opinion about your favorite artists. We would like you to tell us about your favorite singers and bands as well as which songs you have liked the most or that have marked you and why. We all have a favorite song and we would like to know what yours is and why it is or what it has represented in your life. Would you buy records of your favorite artists of the 80s?